I was talking to an older Christian the other day who said they could understand people choosing not to have children. They acknowledged children are given by God and should not be despised, nevertheless, there are so many challenges raising young ones in an evil world. It took me back to a question my daughter asked me a number of months ago – “is it sinful for Christian couples to choose not to have children?” I am of the mind that in most cases such a decision is indeed sinful. Of course there are exceptions such as mental and physical health problems. But by and large the choice to remain childless, it seems to me is driven by selfishness.
The command was given at the beginning, “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it……..” The idea is that the Lord’s work would continue from one generation to the next. This means that we don’t principally have children to suit ourselves, but in order to fulfil the will of God. Here are three things we do well to remember:
* Your children are a gift: God purposefully fashioned your children just for you – in the same way a present is personally hand-picked. There are many challenges raising young ones just as other blessings also bring challenges. Don’t let the challenges overshadow the wonder of the gift. Just remember, there are many people who never experience this gift and would do almost anything to hear the words “mum and dad” from their own flesh and blood.
* You are to love your children: They are all very different – some are sporty others artistic; some academic others creative; some affectionate others withdrawn; some extraverted others introverted. Your child may be very different to you in personality, interests and tastes, and you are to show them unqualified love. Enjoy the years when they are young and enter into their world; never be too busy to spend time with them no matter how old they are.
* You are to pray for your children: Whether they are believers or not, pray for them daily. Your priority should be their character not their academic and vocational success. By all means pray that they would do well in these areas, but most of all pray that they would know Christ and walk with Him. Pray that the Lord would provide godly spouses for them. Pray that they would be become the next church leaders among us and further afield.
One final exhortation to the young couples in the church: Psalm 127:4-5, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full…….” Don’t be afraid to be prolific, the more babies in the church the better!